Syria torture allegations

The human rights charity Amnesty International has called for urgent action on Syria after publishing a "grim catalogue" of what it alleges is state-sponsored torture.

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Gulf countries close Syrian embassies

The six countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have announced they will close their embassies in Syria in protest at the ongoing violence. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait will all withdraw their diplomats, according to GCC head Abdullatif al-Zayani.

Zayani said he opposed the Syrian Government "massacring its people, choosing the military option and rejecting all initiatives aimed at finding a solution to the crisis." He urged the international community to "act urgently and decisively to stop the killings and massacres in Syria".

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Government announce extra aid for Syria

The government have announced extra aid for victims of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners.

We have given direct support to 20,000 families for food rations, medical supplies and emergency water.

We are today announcing additional support for humanitarian aid."

– Andrew Mitchell, International Development Secretary

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Russia: arms trade with Syria is 'perfectly legitimate'

Russia's Deputy Defence Minister has said that Russia will continue selling arms to Syria despite the crackdown on civilians, according to The Independent. Anatoly Antonov said:

Russia enjoys good and strong military technical co-operation with Syria, and we see no reason today to reconsider it ... Russian-Syrian military co-operation is perfectly legitimate.

He also admitted that Russia has military instructors on the ground in Syria training the Syrian army. "It's part of our contractual obligations," he said. "When we supply weapons, we have to provide training."

New report claims to catalogue Syrian abuses

A grim catalogue of torture has emerged from former detainees describing their treatment in Syria's detention centres since the predominantly peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government began in March 2011.

Amnesty International's report reveals that all the various security forces are routinely torturing and ill-treating detainees held in the context of the protests and unrest, using methods of cruelty mostly used for decades.

The torture carried out appears to be part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population as part of Syrian government policy to crush dissent.

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